Monday, October 29, 2012


Hurricane Sandy arrived today. She is currently sweeping her way across the eastern shore, sending millions into the realm of blinking and/or knocked out lights. 

Sandy got her in the end.
Her trail across the northern sky is made up of breached riverbanks (sorry tri-city area), autumn debris (R.I.P my stylish pumpkin) and brilliant curses (please reference @AHurricaneSandy). As stories go, some winners here.

But we are not on the coast. We are not flooded. And the "hurricane party" that Sisterita and I threw ourselves was one step above a normal Monday and one step below the brunch of 2011. And no where near the infamy of 2008's string of Charlie, Irene and that-storm-whose-name-I-still-cannot-be-bothered-to-remember.

On the bright side there is pie. There is wine. There is even a smorgasbord of cooked meats and sides (Sisterita cooks when anxious)! And we have candles that smell like cider and things are lovely!

Aside from the fact that the door is being whipped mercilessly by the wind, there is a nice calm around the place. It is an old house; thus, it creaks. We may end up with some spiderweb cracking in some areas. But, you know. Things happen.

There are a few great lessons to be learned for the observant 20-something in a situation like this! Allow me to share the not-so-obvious (and a few of the truly obvious) lessons with you:
Catholic Candles!
  1. There is no excuse for poorly chosen footwear in Hurricane season. I watched a small child today run around in flip flops. I stared at her mother with complete judgment; ignoring the obvious problem of the maelstrom named Sandy, it is 39 degrees outside. As in SEVEN degrees above freezing.
  2.  Wine is just as important as water. Yes, I said it. We have three global regions and four grapes represented in four separate bottles. Obviously, we will not drink them all, but for true hurricane preparedness, you simply musn't forget the important things.
  3. We live in a society obsessed by sensational images...especially fake ones. Aside from the proud patriotic shot from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I have to say, these images never seemed all that real to me...
  4. Candles are not cheap--unless you go the Catholic route. That's right, Sisterita and I opted for the very, very economical choice of advent candles. Seriously. We saved $3.00 a candle! And they have a Guardian Angel on them! Now, while I am not sure that I am any more protected, we certainly have covered the bases. It has the additional advantage of helping our prayers turn the rain into falling droplets of wine...see Lesson #2.
  5. Hurricane preparedness requires candy. Especially in anticipation of Halloween.
  6. Nothing is sacred. @AHurricaneSandy
  7. Work is a last priority. I am not sure if this is a lesson? Or a simple truth? But something about the natural world all topsy turvy makes a person a little less obsessed with reports and the like. 
Yeah. I just really wanted a post entitled "Smithereens." Sorry that nothing was actually destroyed in the making of this post.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Window Dressing?

This week, I am not fit to mingle with normal people.

Perhaps, in another month, during another week, this would be a false statement. I like people. I enjoy conversation. I accept that any stranger could become a friend—you know, assuming he or she has good hygiene. 

On the whole, I frolic through life with a smile, seemingly competent and at ease with my surroundings.

But this week, I am just off balance enough to be dangerous.

Morning Rituals

Without getting into the weeds, accept my claim that this week has been very busy with work. Early, early (did I mention early?) mornings have met with very late nights; afternoons have been rushed, leaving no time for cooked meals, the gym, or a much-needed oil change. My car and my body continue to make their disapproval known.

It takes an extra 5 seconds to process Sisterita’s question about buying more coffee, and I often find myself approaching the microwave with fresh produce in my hands (which would have ended quite badly). One morning, I put on two different heels...of differing heights. If I was the daring sartorial sort, that could have been forgiven as avant garde. Alas, it was simply sleep deprived delirium. There are several to-do lists floating around in my brain, and they are distracting me.
And, Good Reader, a preoccupied me is a very dangerous me. 

I locked myself, quite consciously, out of my house and car. I actually locked the door and pulled it shut as I was mentally going through the steps, “Grab lunchbox, have my coat, oh yeah, the keys…” Door closes. 

Aftermath: Perspective in the Present

 I stand there—disbelief and astonishment staring back at me from the glass reflection of the door.
Surely to be late to an important data meeting, this requires me to execute a series of humiliating exercises:
  1. Alert my boss and her boss (Chair of the board, anyone?) to my folly. Yes. No. I knew it was locked. No, I don’t have a spare in my mailbox. Yes, I may have to do a B&E.”
  2. Curse loudly as I try to wiggle the doorknob open. Futile effort if there ever was one.
  3. Walk around aimlessly in the yard in search of an open window.
  4. Locate an unlatched window to realize that it is FAR too high to climb into. Use the TRASH CAN to climb high enough to open the window…fail to shimmy into the open space.
  5. Visit every neighbor on the block in search of a step ladder.
  6.  Finally, wake the next door neighbor, who plays Marvin Gaye at all hours of the day, and request assistance.
The 4 inch heels
Well, Marvin-Gaye-the-Neighbor rescued me. He judged me the entire time. I mean, who wouldn’t? I showed up on his doorstep, with lots of unnecessary hand gestures and apologies—while describing my trash can climbing attempts—in a silk dress and 4 inch heels.

Not only did he come over to assess the situation, but he CLIMBED my trash can when his stool was too short, and climbed into the bathroom window. 

…his shorts may have gotten stuck on the brick. 

He may (or may not) have lost his shorts, revealing his preference for “Commando” dress style in the process. 

I may (or may not) have stood below wondering why the hell my parents gave all the common sense to Sisterita.

After the fastest house-crossing trip in history, Marvin-Gaye-the-Neighbor let me into my own door AND wheeled the trash can around front for me.

I am too embarrassed to take him “thank you” cookies, but I feel it is absolutely required.

Resolution ~ I had a spare key made this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Medicating the Malaise

Malaise is a highly non-specific symptom and causes can range from the slightest ailment, such as an emotion or hunger, to the most serious. Generally speaking, malaise expresses a patient's feeling that "something is not right", like a general warning light, but only a medical examination can determine the cause. ~ Condun

Along the wall of every living room, there should live a bookcase. Whether it is home to four hard cover favorites, or one hundred soon-to-be-read paperbacks, the goal should be the same: give ready access to the words and subjects that define your mental landscape.

Lofty wording, huh? It cannot be helped. I could edit that sentence twenty times, and I would still sound pompous. In reality, I just love superfluous language, and whatever snobbish tone that creates is entirely incidental. But more than that - more than any need to indulge in nuanced definitions and vocabulary - is the healing effect of language that sets my tongue loose. The craft of story telling elevates the spirit, and its creations are a balm when the battle of life directs its arrows at your back.

Ambitious writing, whether in prose or poetry, creates a reaction; for a reader in search of something, the writing is transformative in some way, revealing a new perspective or answer to some grand debate; but, for those readers who stumble upon good writing, quite without intention or conscious thought, the reaction is reaffirming. And the best kinds of reading accidents end with reaffirmation of something once lost like an idea or personal truth and they do so against all logic or design.
And those things that do best please me/
That befal preposterously.
~ Puck (A Misummer Night's Dream, III, ii)
If at any point I feel stressed or discontent with my circumstances, I can cure those symptoms of malaise by seeking out my favorite works. It might surprise you to know that one of those favorites is actually an email from an old professor; another is the a poem I wrote as a unschooled 11 year old; a third is from more "recognized" sources of authorship (as is the rest of the list).  

At this precise point in time, I am wrestling with a feeling of discontent. No, not the job hopping kind. I need to table that instinct for a few years. I just feel...incomplete. For all my successes, and all the positive changes of 2012, there is something that feels simply "not quite right."  But of course, I already know the problem: I have been ignoring all creative outlets in the name of technical achievement. And it has left me feeling the contradictory sensations of career triumph and creative apathy. They are not good bedfellows.

Fortunately, a well written sentence can be the bullet that shatters your isolation.

And it can reset the course of your "creative health."

Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing device in books that brings them to their perfect readers... 
~ Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary & Potatoe Peel Society


One rather mundane morning, I found myself driving to work, with 10 things warring for the front spot in my thoughts, and paying far too little attention to driving. I looked up and realized that in the stressful stupor of the morning, I had found myself parked in front of Barnes & Noble. Quite without intention.

I was there. And my feet seemed to be on a mission through the parking lot.

I walked down the aisles, without a glance to my left or to my right; I passed the suggestion shelves and turned down the third aisle of Fiction, and stopped in front of a normal shelf. I reached out, snagged a book, turned heel and walked straight to the cash register. 

It was 9:15 in the morning, I barely had coffee in my system, I had no intention of going to the book store, and yet there I was, the new owner of a book whose title I did not recognize. 

Well. I suppose I am putting a bid in for eccentric 20-something after all?

Reseated in my Sonata, and once again reunited with my coffee tumbler, I finally opened the page. The first line so surprised and touched me, that I actually remember gasping. I knew, without any proof, that I was brought to that book. I believe that it summoned me, just as surely as I believe that it is 2012 and my mother's name is Patricia.  The writing reminded me of the argument that I have "responsibly" ignored in my head for nearly a year: I crave stories, and the editorialist's witty observations about modern life, and the intentional run on sentence, and all the things that a technical writing career asks you to set aside for success. And a few well placed words brought all of that crashing into me like a bullet, leaving me breathless, sore and in desperate need of a change in course.

Maria Duenas medicated my malaise with a beautiful and violent introduction:

A typewriter shattered my destiny. 
 * From the novel The Time in Between

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Conquering the Toolbox

There are a number of times when it is very useful to have two dads.

  1. Moving day. You get four hands instead of two.
  2. Christmas. You get an extra stocking stuffer.
  3. Bedtime (as a child). You get a full cast of parents to read you stories at night.  Not two parents, but three. Multiple vocal impressions. The only other kids on the planet who get that has Robin Williams for a father.
  4. Car problems. Rationale: one of them is bound to answer the phone in times of distress.
And my favorite...Tool Usage Dilemmas. Both of my fabulous dads understand tools. Between them, they own the entire Sears Hardware Department dating back to 1980.

They can fix cars, computers, and every broken household fixture imaginable. Plus, they can build houses, install plumbing, craft furniture, weld most metals, and run electrical wiring. Am I spoiled? Well, yes. But for the most part, I was shown as least a few things growing up, so as to be semi self-sufficient as a young woman living alone. Because they obviously knew that I was the "determined" sort of child focused on moving far far away from my helpers...silly, silly woman. Now, if I need help, I must Skype one or ask for the other's presence weeks in advance. Poorly executed plan for independence on my part.

Among my basic lessons, were simple explanations of how to do things like change a tire, install a doorknob, use a level and hammer properly, and even how to use a soldering iron (though, we pronounce it "sauderin'"). All useful. And all of which introduced me to the most common sets of tools, i.e. level, socket wrench, car jack. Which is why I was MORTIFIED to have to call one of my well-versed fathers this past weekend.

I actually had to think about which father figure would be less ashamed of me for forgetting how to use one a basic element of the household toolbox. I opted to call the one who could judge me from the farthest distance away. Cue iPhone: place call to Florida.

Thrilled Step Dad: Why hey there! How are you?!
B-Verbose: Um, so I need help.
Amused Step Dad: Ha! Oh really. Well, that figures. What is up?
B-Verbose: Well, I am trying to swap out the electrical cord for the dryer we just bought. I need to convert it from a 30 AMP to a 50 AMP and...
Horrified Step Dad: WAIT! WAIT! What are you doing? Stop right now! Amps?! Don't you mean watts? Put everything on the ground! NOW B----. GET YOUR SISTER!

::derailed for 15 minutes during which time I calmly explained the situation, and pacified Step Dad that photos were taken to the Lowe's Help Center, that professionals picked out the necessary cords, and that I was completely capable of doing minor electrical work. And that I could do it without the help of my sister half::

Flustered Step Dad: Well then, what is it you need?
B-Verbose: Um, well, you see...and you can't laugh! I know I am ditsy but this is really a problem, and I need to you just tell me how to do it. Don't make any comments, just...
Step Dad (interrupting): B---, just tell me what it is!
B-Verbose: ...I can't get the socket wrench to change directions. So, I can't get the back panel off ::defeated sigh::
Shame accurately describes what I was feeling in that moment. Foiled by a socket wrench?

A long pause was followed by a very slow, drawn out description of how to locate the "switch" that comes on every socket wrench. The tone was a little surprised. I would venture to say disappointed that I had forgotten my lessons. But there was TRICKERY! There WAS no switch! I knew right then that the universe (or in this case, Advance Auto Parts and its travel kits) was playing games with my head! Every tool I have ever used belongs in the late 1980s or early 90s (some older than that). I had to finally send a picture via iPhone to him, and we figured out together that the attachment push pin could double as a rotation element. That. Was. Not. In. My. Lessons. And the pin was cantankerous. It was weird. So, obviously, I prefer antique tools.::wink wink::

Still, that was the only part of the project that I needed help with. I swapped things out all by my lonesome, tested the dryer, and it has yet to catch on fire.

Go girl, go!

... part of me dreads the day that I have to use something really fancy. Like the "Total Gym" equivalent of drills or something. Then Chuck Norris or Bob Vila will show up to give me a stern talkin' to....depending on who has the day off, of course. ::insert cheesy grin over bad joke here::

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Working Woman's Woes: The Unforgiving Workload

 Despite my many attempts to delve further into one of my favorite topics—navigating the ever changing workplace—I admit to abandoning this entry on multiple occasions.
Why? Well, my explanation is a fitting one: I have been juggling THE workload.
The serial took second priority.

Shortly after drafting the bones of “The Working Woman’s Woes” series, I made the decision to shift roles at work. At the time, my juggling act was quite impressive on its own: after participating in a 6 month staff restructuring process, I assumed a new role as the Development Manager for roughly 18 counties in SWVA. It was an exciting endeavor. I was fortunate to play a significant role in developing the job description for my new “responsibilities”. Leaving the Grant Manager position behind was not scary, it was an opportunity. One that did—oh yes, it did—stretch me. Unfortunately, we were not in a position to hire a replacement in my former role quickly, so I juggled. And my department was incredibly supportive. It all worked out beautifully, though I was overwhelmed, for a few months.

But a new twist was rapidly approaching—and the experiences that I have had in the months since, have given me a whole new perspective on “time management.” In February 2012, I took a role overseeing the local presence of a state incentive grant. In retrospect, that whole journey requires a bit of faith to believe. My current Director has known me for several years, and had approached me to write for a multi-year project funded by SAMHSA. Well, after days juggling two roles at one organization, and the responsibilities of privately contracted grant writer by night, I was stretched. But we were awarded the funding. Then, I was asked to apply for the project coordinator position. And today I have shifted my responsibilities into the realm of project management (plus, development duties, but that will wait for another day!).
Rather than waxing poetic about the positive results of finishing before the deadline, or learning to prioritize your to-do list Covey style, I think I can accurately sum up the best stress navigation method in four words: consistent performance & expectation management. 

Your Level of Effort Should be Predictable—

Don’t run. This isn’t the boring “never deviate from the routine” sort of lesson. But there is one truth to your relationship with your employer: with consistency of performance you will develop trust, and with trust you will have the freedom and autonomy to take the risks you want to take. 

On the few occasions that I, or my friends, have noted strained relations in the work place, it usually falls on the doorstep of low effort performance. What does that mean? Well, I actually don’t think it has that much to do with delivering the “stellar” performance, or of never missing the mark on a project. Life happens. We will never be 100% successful at everything—and if you are, I would wager you have taken few chances with your skill application. Up the ante.

Consistency is about a two things: first, it sets the stage for building your reputation on a solid work ethic; and second, it is the perfect motivator for advancing your professional goals in a timely manner through uninterrupted levels of effort (thereby avoiding the strained 4:59 pm submission deadline every week). What it should never be about: stifling your creativity. For your employer, a consistent level of engagement in every project, whether you love it or hate it, will prove that you are both competent and thoughtful in your work. As such, if you NEED to shout “Mayday!” on a Wednesday when the to-do list threatens to crush you, chances are the boss will acknowledge your cries. And you will get the extension you need, or the necessary support to get the job done. And the hurdle will be cleared, and all will be well.

On the other hand, when have you ever heard of the lazy guy in the office not getting “the” lecture after filing for an extension? Not a frequent occurrence. 

Consistency will both help you maintain control on your projects, as well as keep you focused on the end game. Consistency is based on a long term plan; and I should hope—please?— that that is an ambitious one.

Do Not Pretend You Can Spin Golden Thread

There are few situations in which you are going to be rescued by a supervisor or client, just because “they lowered their expectations.” Admitting your limitations is part of being a good employee or business owner. If a supervisor or a client comes to you asking for a very ambitious product—whether due to the time commitment or the sheer difficulty level—then you need to call on your honed negotiation skills. 

Granted, when you are growing a business or first starting out in your career, you do not have the luxury of sending away potential business or projects. You need to make ends meet, and you need to build a portfolio from somewhere. As you move forward in your career, however, the number of projects that you are juggling will only grow in size and difficulty level; when that happens, a well-placed, “No”, will serve you well.

It stands to common sense that a client will appreciate a surprise over a disappointment any day. As the saying goes, “under-promise and over-deliver”. That strategy rarely backfires if you remember to promise a good product from the get go. At the end of the day, your supervisors or your clients do not care about the other 400 things waiting on your desk, or the 20 unreturned voicemails in your inbox, or even the fact that you haven’t had a vacation in 6 months. They care only about what you can tell them concerning their product, their interests, and their investment. Which means, you have now entered into the field of TIGHT ROPE WALKING! Welcome! It will be fun! You will not fall…most likely.

To balance all of the things you have on your plate—in addition to performing consistently, and being affable, and finding a good mentor (see previous serial installment)—you need to find that sweet spot where you can advance your own interests while managing the expectations of those around you. Please note: this is not a lesson in personal profit. Managing the expectations of those around allows for honest communication, better time management, and ultimately a much better product. Profit is the by product.

If you are too stretched by multiple projects or incessant details, it simply doesn’t matter what level of effort you put in—something will suffer. And so begins to cycle of compromise. You lose the ability to control your collaborative partners. You lose say in when a project reaches fruition. Worst of all, you lose confidence in the quality of your product. Stress makes for shoddy workmanship. Your skills are your legacy, your currency, and your source of personal achievement. If you allow others to enforce unrealistic or intangible expectations onto those skills, then you will risk compromising those strengths in the name of an unshared goal. 

Navigating Cubicle-ville, or your own makeshift desk from home, is a delicate thing. Some days I succeed. Some days, I see the edge of the cliff approaching and force myself to talk through the stresses with my Director. It is never 100% comfortable. But it is necessary. To become a successful, confident, and effective professional, there is no escaping the mounting to-do list. It is going to grow and grow and grow. If you are doing your job well, the pace will likely accelerate before you have time to learn the art of “no”. But, if you have been consistent in your performance to that point, then a minor blip on the success radar will be forgiven and forgotten—just try not to make it a habit.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

By Chance or By Design?

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.” ~ Honest Abe

I do not follow the prescripted belief that any one day is meant to be special; a birthday is a day. Just like, in the most technical sense, a wedding day or the Super Bowl are just days on the calendar.

That, however, doesn't mean that I prefer days to remain uncelebrated.  Life is an occasion; rise to it!

The thematically perfect sculpture to
feature as a gift in this post! Thanks Boss!
Despite the circumstances or personal significance of a particular date, the day itself has no inherently magical quality. It is the person, and the perspective, that makes any one day a special one. Yesterday, I aged (I like to think quite gracefully!). I have always loved my birthday. Not because of the presents, or the cake, or that ego-centric "it's all about me!" element. I have always loved my birthday because the people in my life have made it an expression of their affection for me. It isn't a new idea: yes, a birthday is a day to celebrate you. But, what happens when a series of rather unusual and spectacular moments string themselves together to create pure joy? Does it render my theory that we infuse situations with personal significance obsolete? Is there really magic in a single day? My romantic inclinations would love to go there...

Yesterday my day was transformed by the people I have met during my short life. Calls came in from Minnesota, Florida, California, New England. Hugs were passed around among my civic league, my co workers, and one very exuberant stranger. Facebook love was staggering! [If nothing else, social media will lift your spirits with some online love on your birthday.]

I am not trying to wave my "look how many friends I have!" flag, here. I just felt blessed. And in awe of the circuitous, surprising journey between states, nations, and life chapters that made all of those birthday wishes possible.  My day felt infused with magic because of the love fest! Bring on the love!

I got the French one... :)
And because I have Sisterita, whose domestic sensibilities in the kitchen, turned out the most magical meal of citrus-infused quinoa and salmon steaks (yeah, I am so spoiled); and who also found time to decorate my room, prep a birthday banana bread loaf for my morning celebration, and write "Happy Birthday" in 27 languages on my birthday mirror. (Great pronunciation game to play post glass of Vihno Verde, by the way...Exystimogislua anyone?)

Then there was the spectacular art piece by wonderful Director purchased me! Vintage, nostalgic, and inspiring!

And some really great grant news for work. (Maybe now I can stop going grey from stress?)

And a reunion with a long lost friend. 

And inducting a new young professional into a life of philanthropic service - my first "little" duck!

 And, then there was the the random icing on the proverbial cake: Sisterita and I met a psychedelic rapper named Aaron, on the streets of downtown. The conversation went something like:

Aaron: Ladies, ladies can I get your opinion? Is this hat too much with this shirt?
B-Verbose: ::eyes Redskin cap, Rasta shirt and Air Force Ones:: Actually, I think you have the attitude to pull it off.
Aaron: So ladies, I've got some music I want you to look up. I'm a psychedelic rapper and you two gals look like you would appreciate a little good music.
 Sisterita: Um, Aaron? What IS a psychedelic rapper?
Aaron: I want you to think about if Fleetwood Mac made rap. And then Pink Floyd came along and jazzed things up. That's my vibe. It was all kind of a mess before I found Jesus. But now my rap is right and all is good with the world.
B-Verbose: So, Aaron, where can we find your stuff? ::looks up online:: Okay. Cool. We will give it a listen later. Great meeting you man. Good luck!
NOTE: I heard very little Fleetwood Mac influence in those tracks. But he was a very very pleasant fellow. And the ensuing banter was quite fun.

All said and done, I don't know if one day can be characterized as "magic" or  more "special" than another. Probably not; but, as Wednesday birthdays go, yesterday was a pretty spectacular culmination of experiences. Honest Abe, I do believe that I added a little life into my years yesterday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Distance, good sir, is dirty.

I do not run. 

I do not care to run.

And I have been running for weeks now. 


If, say, two short months ago, you would have told me that I might be spending my mornings on a treadmill, or my weekends using mountains as an alternative to the stair climber, then I would have [insert appropriately violent terminology] you.

 Or perhaps just glared at you. In what would surely have been a studied impression of Maggie Smith's incredulous "look." You know the one. The one that freezes time on Downton Abbey.

But no. No, I would have lived to regret my actions. Why? Because quite honestly, a little running is the perfect excuse to PLAY IN THE MUD! Marine Mud Run, you were a beast. You made me dirty, but I made it through your 5K obstacle course and got this incredible photo opportunity out of it.

 Next: We do an Orbitz commerical. And make millions. Yes, yes, I do believe that will work.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Things You Write That I Will Not Read

"It is more worthy in the eyes of God and better for us as a people if a writer makes three pages sharp and funny about the lives of geese than to make three hundred flat and flabby about God or the American people."

(Garrison Keillor.  Intro to "Happy to Be Here")


On that rather enlightened note, I will briefly add my distaste for any of the following:
  1. Anything to do with the basic debauchery of your evening. If your grandmama would look askance at you, chances are I am mentally castigating you with MUCH worse. Fair warning. 
  2. The goings ons of your girl friend's boyfriend's cheating regime. I feel badly for her. But frankly, I am of the opinion that she should let him go. Correction: thrust him from her doorstep with a furious, fabulous kick of her stiletto boot.
  3. Any fan fiction about Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or  Firefly. I love me some Joss Whedon, but the show is gone. I lament the loss; your attempts to finally unite Mal and the lovely Irina, however, are not going to get it back on the air. Or satisfy the hole in any of our hearts. 
  4. The daily escapades of your pet. Funny enough, entries about a rather nasty roommate tend to be both entertaining and educational. So, keep those coming.
  5. Your health journal. Caloric intake values are too much information for this gal.
With all that said, I am not heartless. I fully support the journalistic endeavors of all - not only will the writer find better understanding of his or her own internal struggle, but the very practice will enable the development of a fuller, more globally aware perspective. AKA a semi-considerate observer of the world.

I just want to see the journey's find their way to enlightenment - sorry Maslow, I apologize for stealing your pyramid for my own purposes. And all too often these sorts of entries into the online consciousness do nothing more than irritate, exacerbate and inflame the feelings and fires of the already embittered writing parties. Now, someone tell me: is that supposed to help?

So, maybe just call your girlfriends and have a cinema night?